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The Socialists propose to lower the ratio of students permanently in educational centers of high social complexity

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The Socialists propose to permanently reduce the ratios, that is, the number of students per class, in schools with “high social complexity and with a higher index of educational need.” The PSOE parliamentary group registered this Monday in the Congress of Deputies an initiative to urge the Government to promote an agreement in this regard with the autonomous communities in the Education Sector Conference.

The drop in the ratios is one of the demands that generates the most consensus in the educational community. The historic request was fulfilled last year in a large part of the schools and institutes for the application of the rules to prevent the contagion of covid. But this course will disappear, since the new protocol allows us to return to the pre-pandemic figures.

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The non-law proposal registered by the Socialists, which will be debated in the coming weeks in Congress, mentions the meta-analysis, based on 148 studies, carried out in 2018 by the international network of experts Campbell Collaboration, which concluded that the ratio drops did not they seem to have, in general, great positive effects. But the text that will be debated in Congress adds that there are, on the other hand, international studies that reflect beneficial consequences in environments of “high complexity and social vulnerability.” A conclusion similar to the one presented in this newspaper in July by the professor of Economics at the Carlos III Antonio Cabrales University.

Lowering the ratios is not exactly cheap. The socialist proposal argues its commitment to a selective reduction, noting that the steps in this area must be taken by previously analyzing “both the budgetary impact and the equity impact.” And taking into account, he continues, that the educational system is immersed in other large investments that have been historically pending in the matter of “early childhood education, inclusive education, digitization, new centers and public places, promotion of Vocational Training, teachers, support staff teaching staff and reduction of interns ”.

Reducing the ratios in the centers that concentrate students with socio-educational difficulties would allow, according to the text, that they would improve academic results, coexistence, opportunities for students to graduate in post-compulsory stages, and the motivation and commitment of teachers. Especially, he points out, “after the impact” that the pandemic can be expected to have in these schools and institutes.

What is understood by a highly complex center?

The proposal proposes that the Sectoral Conference on Education (in which the Ministry of Education and the autonomous communities meet) define which public and subsidized centers are of high social complexity on the basis of a series of “harmonized methodological indicators”, which have take into account “their environment and social composition”. The autonomous communities already apply systems to classify the social situation of the centers, for example with surveys on the cultural level and employment status of parents at the time of enrollment. What it would be about now would be to establish common criteria “that reinforce social and educational cohesion.”

The document emphasizes that it should be avoided “at all times to advertise these centers in order to prevent their stigmatization.”

The proposal also urges the Government to promote an “accompaniment plan” for this type of center in compliance with the education law, the Lomloe, which provides that education administrations will allocate “greater resources and endowments to public and subsidized centers that serve students with the greatest needs ”.

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